While Shakespeare thought a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet, that only works in the garden. In politics, a biased choice of words just plain stinks.
It is presumably well known that whoever controls the terminology controls the debate. Yet conservatives have been getting their semantic plows cleaned by liberals for decades and have not yet understood this basic form of thought control. The left does not underestimate, as we do, the power of word selection in manipulating ideas and opinions. As Barack Obama himself has said, “Words matter.”
To begin with, let’s note two major errors in the previous paragraph:
- The use of the word “conservative” to describe those who hold to the principles of the Founding Fathers of this nation. The founding of America was the most liberal act ever committed by mankind. And the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are the two most liberal documents ever to arise from the mind of man.
- The use of the word “liberal” to denote those who essentially believe in socialism/Marxism, a philosophy which has historically caused the enslavement of countless millions and the deaths of countless millions more.
The basic meaning of “liberal,” according to Mr. Webster, is “free” or “generous.” He also defines the word as “favoring political reforms tending toward democracy and personal freedom for the individual.” That is exactly what the Declaration and Constitution do.
I don’t think it hurts our side much to be labeled “conservative,” because we are both conservative and liberal, in that we seek to conserve those “political reforms tending toward democracy and personal freedom for the individual” which the Founders established.
In contrast, the “reforms” advocated by so-called “liberals” may appear on the surface to advance individual freedom and do in fact often advance license, which is not the same thing. But their reforms always ultimately advance government control, which always and inevitably leads to loss of freedom. They present themselves as liberal, but in practice their philosophy always kills true liberalism.
It is essential that we use the correct terminology when we speak of “liberals.” In this era, the people who call themselves by that name are in fact socialists and Marxists. We must no longer allow them to control the debate by mindlessly parroting their choice of words. One of my favorite passages in the Bible is Isaiah 32:5 in the King James Version, which tells us that when God sets things right, “The vile person shall be no more called liberal, nor the churl [stupid, ignorant, and cross-grained person] said to be bountiful [generous].”
Any knowledgeable “liberal” is a socialist and every truly serious “liberal” is a Marxist, if not a Stalinist. Stalinists believe all opposition must be silenced, which is the reason for the political correctness movement and the move toward reimposition of the so-called “Fairness Doctrine.”
Norman Thomas, who ran for the presidency of the United States six times as the Socialist Party candidate, is said to have stated: “The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism, but under the name of liberalism they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program until one day America will be a socialist nation without ever knowing how it happened.”
It cannot be confirmed that Thomas actually said the above, but whoever said it was right. That day has come.
The “pro-choice” hoax
I cringe whenever I hear or read the term “pro-choice” used by a conservative. But it happens constantly and it’s a major roadblock to turning public perception in the right direction. “Pro” is positive and “anti” is negative, and by tagging us “anti-abortion,” or worse, “anti-choice,” and themselves “pro-choice,” they create a positive image for themselves in the public mind and a negative image for us.
In actuality “pro-choice” people are not pro-choice. They are pro-abortion and, in the final analysis, pro-death. Why play their game by using their words? Every time we do, we weaken our case. We must not call ourselves, or allow ourselves to be called, “anti-abortion,” although of course we are very much against abortion, but that’s only because we are so very pro-life.
Smears and lies
Another favorite verbal tactic of the left is the use of the word “smear.” Any accusation against a leftist is automatically labeled a smear. Did more than 200 Vietnam veterans testify against John Kerry? That was a smear. Do we suggest that Barack Obama may have had a more-than-casual acquaintance with William Ayers? That’s a smear. Do we point out that Joe Biden delivers the most absurd gaffes with an air of great wisdom? That’s a smear. A leftist will never, never, never debate the facts of an issue if the facts are against him. And he will never admit the facts are against him. It’s all a smear.
They are more careful, however, about calling accusations “lies,” because “lie” is a more definite term than “smear.” A lie can be proven or disproven, but it doesn’t matter if a smear is true or false. If anything said about a leftist would tend to make him look bad, then it’s labeled a smear.
Progressive or regressive?
There are so many other terms which need to be liberated from the lexicons of the left that it would probably take a book to even make a good dent in the list. But we can’t leave this discussion without taking on one more term: “progressive.” The last time I looked, America and some other countries had moved from the bad old days when governments controlled the lives of their subjects to some degree of self-government. That is progress. To go back to government control of our lives, as the statists seek to do, is not progress; it is regress. So let’s not call them “progressives”; let’s call them what they are: “regressives.”
So what should we call them?
We absolutely must stop calling the left “liberal” or “progressive.” To do so is to give away half the debate before it even starts. It is bringing a knife to a gunfight. We are fighting a war of ideas, and as long as ideas are expressed in words, those who chose the words control the battle.
The socialists/Marxists will, of course, resist our efforts to regain control of the terminology. They don’t like to be called what they are, because those terms have negative connotations in the public mind. However, a quick fact-check readily confirms that their positions on the issues are socialist/Marxist. If it waddles like a duck …
Unfortunately, even some on the right are not comfortable calling a duck a duck, so if you would prefer to duck the issue without completely giving away the farm, you could call them “leftists” or “statists.” Those are also accurate terms and maybe less offensive to socialists/Marxists.
Although why anyone would care about offending them is a mystery to me.